… on July 24, 2010, particularly Tay Say Church.
Father Francisco Truong Buu Diep is a well known figure amongst Catholics and non-Catholics in Vietnam. Every year, thousands of people from all faiths come to the Tac Say Church to pay this Vietnamese martyr respect and make offerings.
Father Diep was born in 1897 and ordained priest in Phnom Peng (Cambodia) in 1924. He returned to Vietnam to teach at a local seminary and serve as a pastor at Tac Say parish 16 years. During his ministry, he founded many parishes within the surrounding areas and helped many poor people regardless of their background.
After World War II, the Viet Minh forces (Communists) came down hard on Catholics, forcing many people flee for their lives. Father Diep refused to leave saying, “I live among my flock and I will die among them. I will not go anywhere.” He was caught by the Viet Minh on March 12, 1946 alongside 70 (some people report 30) Catholics. Held in a rice paddy warehouse, he was said to have given up his life in order to save those he had been captured with from being burnt alive. Beheaded, his body was later found in a nearby pond, although Vietnamese authorities have never confirmed the identity of his murderers.
Tac Say Parish has since been rebuilt. The compounds have been expanded in the last five years, especially in response to pilgrimage popularity. Father Diep’s tomb itself was recently completed restorations this past March.
Many people believe this man to be responsible for healing ailments and blessing people with prosperity and good fortune. Pilgrims from all over come just to see and touch his tomb as well as gift offerings of incense, food, money and prayers.
Although my dad’s side of the family is Buddhist, they enthusiastically suggested we pay Tac Say a visit. My uncle (Chet Quang) rented a 16-seat van that day and the 4 of us were accompanied by: Chet Quang, his wife and 2 kids (Thanh and Khoa), Be Min’s wife, their daughter in law (So Nhu) and her daughter (Tran), Chet Vu’s son (Cuoi) and Chet Hien’s daughter (Phuong).
On the way home we stopped at Nha Hang Cong Tu Bac Lieu (Prince of Bac Lieu Restaurant) to have lunch. The Prince of Bac Lieu, rich boy whose real name was Tran Trinh Huy, was known for spending money like water well into his adulthood . His parents were the richest people in the Mekong Delta region during the French Indochina. He’s been said to have flaunted his wealth in the most ridiculous of ways such as burning paper money to cook, burning paper money to look for items in the dark, travelling alone with 5 richshaws, etc. The food was pretty delicious and we followed that with a short tour of the Prince of Bac Lieu’s house and bought some souvenirs.
We stopped by Cho Bac Lieu (Bac Lieu Market) which was pretty similar to Cho Ben Thanh (Ben Thanh Market) where a large one room building is completely filled with small stands/stores and people grab at you wherever you go, telling you to by their merchandise. The kids were prettyyy bored, and we couldn’t stand around either because people will yell at you if you stand in front of their shops and not buy anything. So we had to keep walking, and keep walking, and… it was pretty hot. So sad! Haha
On the way back we stopped in Soc Trang (town about 65km away from Phung Hiep) to have dinner. We also briefly visited a hospital in Soc Trang to say hello to Cau Phuong (Ong Ba Bay’s son). If you remember, previously we stopped by Ong Ba Bay’s house but they weren’t home. Turned out it was because this son had taken them out to Nha Trang for a little vacation!
And… finally reached home in the late evening!
Photos from that day
(Hover for captions, click for larger… you know the drill)
Rain finally ends and we head over to our next destination, Prince Bac Lieu Restaurant